Andorra - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Andorra, a diminutive country in Western Europe landlocked by France and Spain, is spread over 180 square miles and supports a population close to ninety thousand. Andorra sports a unique nominal duumvirate standing, whereby it is ruled by both the President of France and the Bishop of the Diocese of Urgell. In reality, the Andorran prime minister has de facto power as the head of the government. Andorrans enjoy a per-capita GDP just under $40K benefiting mostly from their tourism industry and the country’s status as a tax haven. Sheep rearing and tobacco growing are also minimally practiced.

Travel Resources:

Andorra is a prime tourist spot hosting over 10 million visitors a year. The main attractions are its summer and winter resorts with hiking and skiing as the main activity. Tourists enjoy limited duty-free allowances.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Walk! Andorra978-1904946045$14Thirty fully detailed walking route itineraries with summary, effort ratings, time, distance, etc. 1:40,000 scale for the route maps. Both challenging and expert routes. Also includes background information such as history and culture and practical information such as accommodation options.
The Mountains of Andorra: Walks, Scrambles, Via Ferratas and Treks978-1852844240$16The book released in 2010 details sixty routes and is written by Alf Robertson, a professional walking guide.
Secrets of the Seven Smallest States of Europe: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City978-0781810326$18Details the history, culture, and inner working of the seven micro-states of Europe providing an intriguing account of how they meet the dual challenges of maintaining independence and being economically viable.
All-in-One Travel Power Plug Adapter US, UK, EU, AUB000YN01X4$4Converts from two-prong US-style plugs to a variety of other outlet styles. Surge protection and power indicator light.



Philatelic Profile:

Andorra has Spanish and French postal administrations each issuing stamps of their own designs. The first stamps of Andorra were issued by the Spanish Administration in 1928 which were Spanish stamps from 1922-29 (King Alfonso III Scott #331 to #344 and #358 to #370) with “Andorra” overprinted in red or black. The higher denominations of both the Spanish and the Andorran issues are valued in the 100s. Among the lower denominations, the uncommon color varieties (5c vermillion and the 25c dark blue) are also valued in the same range. Imperforate and color variations/errors exist for many of these stamps in this series and they catalog slightly higher for genuine copies. Also, of the two Perf varieties (12.5 & 14) – the latter variety catalogs about 30% higher.

The first stamps designed and issued (first original designs) by the Spanish Administration were designs of prominent structures and the General Council. The higher denomination General Council design issues are valued between $10 and $125 while the others are valued much lower. Also, those stamps with control numbers printed along the back have somewhat of a premium compared to their counterparts with no control numbers. The same designs continued through 1948 until the design shifted to the Coat of Arms, Map, Edelweiss, and other local scenes. Most of these are valued in the $10 to $25 range. One theme that dominated Spanish Andorran stamps over the years is Christian designs reflecting the predominantly Catholic population (over 90%). Most of the later stamps issued by the Spanish Administration are valued modestly with less than 500 different stamps overall. Thus it is relatively easy to acquire a complete set of these stamps.

The French Administration first issued several designs of the stamps from France (A16, A18, A20, and A22) during the1900 to 1929 time period. Those issues have ANDORRE overprinted in black. Of these, the higher denomination “liberty and peace” design of France (A18) is especially valuable. The whole set (Scott #1 to #22) is valued at almost $1000 for used and a little less for MNH.

The first original designs of the French Administration were a large set of 40 stamps (Scott #23 to #63 and certain varieties) issued between 1931 and 1943. The whole set in mint or used condition catalogs for around $500. The designs were centered largely on prominent local buildings and scenes. One very highly valued color error stamp in the series ($19000) is the 20c ultra with the “Bridge of St. Anthony” design (A51). The regular corresponding item is the 20c light rose which catalog in the $10 range. The Coat of Arms set of 1936 to 1944 (Scott #65 to #84) that catalog in the $50 range completes the classic period issues of the French Administration.

From 1943 to 1962 the French Administration issued only three relatively large sets of stamps:
  1. Four designs issued till 1955 depicting local structures and pictures (A57 to A60) (Scott #85 to #123). These catalog in the $100 range for the complete set in mint and about half that for used.
  2. Two designs (A61 and A62) one representing the spa in Des Aldres, a small town near the nation’s capital, Andorra La Vella and the other of the 12th century church of Santa Coloma with its circular bell-tower (St. Coloma Belfry). This set of 19 stamps (Scott #124 to #142) catalog for around $150 MNH and around $100 used.
  3. Two designs (A63 and A64) of the Coat of Arms and the Gothic Cross of Meritxell issued in 1961. The set of 11 stamps (Scott #143 to #153) catalog for around $60 for MNH and around $40 for used.

The number of issues accelerated in the early 60’s with varied themes such as art, tourism, Christianity, sports, and flora and fauna. Issues of significance and good collector interest from this period include:
  1. A design of Charlemagne (Charles I regarded as the father of Europe) crossing Andorra (Scott #155 to #157) that catalog for around $25 for either MNH or used issued in 1964.
  2. The co-principality confirmation issues of 1964 (Scott #159 and #160) that catalog between $10 and $20 either MNH or used.
  3. The 1974 issues of the Virgin of Pal and Santa Coloma (Scott #232 and #233) that catalog in the $30 and $50 range respectively for MNH and about one-fourth that for used. Certain common design Europa themed issues from the 60s and 70s are also fairly valuable.
Numismatic Profile:

Andorra has issued coins denominated in diners since 1977. These are commemorative coins that are not used in circulation. Although diner is pegged to French Franc (1:5), Spanish Peseta (1:125), and the Euro (1:0.75), it is not possible to use diner as a currency in Andorra. As such, it is an artificial currency with the main purpose of serving collectors. Numismatic items from Andorra include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Commemorative Coins$10 and upAndorra has issued a number of beautiful coins with low mintages over the years. Valuations start around $10. Small gold coin proofs issued in the 1990s start around $50 and go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$100 and upRare Andorran banknotes from the 30s denominated in Centims and Pessetas start well into the 100s.

Collectible Memorabilia:


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Postcards & other miscellaneous memorabilia$1 and upPostcards from the early turn of the century portraying local scenes fetch a premium.


Last Updated: 12/2015.
 

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